Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My New Cadillac! - An Excalibur Dehydrator

Once a year at work I get a bonus. It's just before the RRSP deadline, so most of it goes into that. I treat myself to a new item with what's left over usually. And it's often a kitchen appliance of some sort. I bought a Blendtec blender about 3 years ago. It's a crazy price compared to regular blenders. But I have never regretted a penny I spent on it. It has an odometer and so far I've used it more than 700 times. I even make my own almond milk in it. This year I decided to invest in a better dehydrator.

As with my Blendtec, I turned to to make my purchase. They carry a lot more products online than they do in the stores and the price is reasonable. I probably would not be able to ever get a dehydrator in any Costco store near me anyways. There are several to choose from online. I could quickly eliminate any of the "professional" ones - they are meant for businesses and had stainless steel exteriors. I wanted something that would take a larger load than my current Salton dehydrator from Walmart. I chose the 9 tray Excalibur. Each tray is 14 inches by 14 inches (square). And no hole in the middle!

The Salton has the warm air come up from the bottom, through that central hole in the round trays. The Excalibur has the heat come from the back and it is more evenly distributed. It's not a bad idea to turn the trays around part way through the drying process. 
Old versus New
My dehydrator isn't perfect though. As you can see in the photo above, they mislabeled the front "door" and put it on upside down. Maybe I should ask for a discount? LOL

So far I've dried a huge pot of rice I had cooked specifically for this purpose. Yesterday I popped in 4 pineapples and 3 bananas. That combination makes the kitchen smell so yummy!

The drying times are cut much shorter with the new appliance. Although I do find it a bit noisier. 

The Excalibur came with the 9 trays and 9 perforated liners. However it did not come with solid liners. I use those liners to dry sauces (pasta sauce) and fruit leather.
Just the tray - MUCH bigger holes than the Salton tray
Close-up of tray liner
Tray with perforated liner
One whole pineapple all dried out
I like the Salton liners as they have a lip around the edges.
Salton solid tray liner
Size comparison
Fortunately I had taken out my Chef Glenn's cookbook and was re-reading instructions when I discovered that I could use parchment paper as a liner. I can certainly order special silicon liners for the Excalibur, but they're $13.99 each (if I buy 5+) and 9 would be, well, you do the math.

Ultra Silicone tray liners

ParaFlexx tray liners
I used parchment to dry the rice. It's not like the rice is in liquid form, it just shrinks so much during drying that it could fall through the nylon screen liners. It did the trick. I'm not sure though about using parchment paper for pasta sauce.

In the meantime, I'm passing my old dehydrator to LT. He's bananas about bananas, so he can create his own banana drying factory himself. But I'm holding onto my Salton liners, they fit into the new dehydrator for now. The Salton didn't come with any of its liners, I had to order them via mail from the manufacturer in Montreal. They weren't that expensive.

I'm going to try to expand my meal selection this year, which was why I had Chef Glenn's book out again. I'll let you know if I find one that is particularly delicious!

And here's a totally gratuitous picture of Winston exploring the box the dehydrator came in. His box fetish is so bad, he often tries to climb into boxes before I've even taken the contents out!


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    1. Thank you! I've moved to the UK so I'm no longer canoeing in Canada, which is why I haven't added any new content lately.